Toolstation Western League First Division
Chard Town 2, Wincanton Town 2

THIS home clash against Wincanton Town on Saturday saw several changes to the Chard line-up due to player unavailability.

However, this did not prevent the home side taking an early lead before the game finally finished at two apiece. 

In the first half, early attacking play saw Chard win a corner on 10 minutes and Ollie Pearson headed home for the opening goal. 

Further chances fell to Max Westlake and Sam Smith but Wincanton drew level on 21 minutes when, following some pressure on the home defence, they forced a corner with Dec Cornish heading home from close range.

The injured Steve Friend was replaced by Ryan Parris on 28 minutes coming on to play in an unfamiliar attacking role. 

The remainder of the half saw both sides put together some attacking moves, with the changed weather of rain and wind not allowing close football and the half time came with the scores level.

In the second half, Parris proved his worth up front when, from a mix-up in the Wincanton defence, he coolly put through a well-judged high ball into the top corner of the visitors net to score Chard’s second goal on 50 minutes.

However, Wincanton immediately went on the attack and equalised some nine minutes later when a cross from the left flank found Toby Cole in position to head the ball home. 

Parris almost put Chard in the driving seat on 63 minutes when, with a further strike on target, his shot hit the bar with the shot from the rebound in the net but to be ruled off side. 

Jacob Manley was replaced by Will George for his first game in the Chard colours on 69 minutes.

Both sides endeavoured to find a winner with the best chances falling to Chard on 80 minutes when Parris was fouled just outside the box but the free-kick went wide of the target.

Late in the game, Wincanton won several free kicks but, at the final whistle, the score remained at two goals each for a share of the points.

Chard Town: Scott Wells-Burr, Elliot Dyer, Ollie Pearson, Ben Haines, Kieran Bailey, Matthew Howell, Max Westlake, Sam Smith, Steve Friend (Ryan Parris 28mins) Jacob Manley, (Will George 69mins) Tom Salter. Subs not used: Thomas Hargreave, Nathan Warren.

Somerset County League Premier Division
Clevedon United 1, Ilminster Town 1

ILMINSTER Town began their season with a trip to Clevedon United, who finished in mid-table last season.

After the summer heatwave and the usual August sunshine that greets the start of a new football season, both sides were surprised to find heavy rain and a strong breeze.

The hosts, playing slightly downhill and with the breeze at their backs, had the advantage in the first half but the Blues stood strong and chances were limited.

Kieran Manley had one effort from distance that just went over but both sides cancelled each other out and it was 0-0 at half time.

Ilminster were not so lucky when they went out for the second half as the conditions had changed and the wind had died down.

It looked like neither side were going to break the deadlock until, with 20 minutes remaining, a deep cross from the right caught Ilminster out and the Clevedon winger ran through unmarked at the far post to give his side the lead.

Clevedon nearly increased their lead when a shot looked to be heading in the top corner but Chris May made a fantastic save.

After the goal, Darren Manley wasted no time and made changes with both Adam Male and Andy Whitefield sent on up front and Ben Pitman replacing his brother, Brad, in midfield.

The changes made a difference as Pitman began to dominate the middle of the park and Male put himself about.

But it was the pace of Whitefield which began to stretch the home side and, with time running out, the Clevedon centre-half made a mess of a clearance under pressure from Carl Lazenby and Male and from eight yards out Whitefield produced a good finish to equalise.

Whitefield nearly won it right at the death when a cross-shot brought a good save from the home keeper.

For Ilminster, Alex Paul showed all his experience as the midfield anchor but, as is often the case in the modern era with three substitutes, it was the fresh legs of the Ilminster three that helped secure the excellent point away from home.

Ilminster: Chris May, Luke Paul, George Miles, Ashley Lock, Doug Whitfield, Brad Pitman, Brad Miles, Alex Paul, Carl Lazenby, Kieran Manley, Taylor Jefferson; subs (used): Andy Whitefield, Adam Male, Ben Pitman. 

Saturday brings another away fixture, this time against newly-promoted Westfield.